A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe



Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.



Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ten Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year

Once, when the people of God had become careless in their relationship with Him, the Lord rebuked them through the prophet Haggai. "Consider your ways!" (Haggai 1:5) he declared, urging them to reflect on some of the things happening to them, and to evaluate their slipshod spirituality in light of what God had told them.


Even those most faithful to God occasionally need to pause and think about the direction of their lives. It’s so easy to bump along from one busy week to another without ever stopping to ponder where we’re going and where we should be going.

The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up, and get our bearings. To that end, here are some questions to ask prayerfully in the presence of God.

1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?
2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?
3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?
4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?
5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?
6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?
7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?
8. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?
9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?
10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

In addition to these ten questions, here are twenty-one more to help you "Consider your ways." Think on the entire list at one sitting, or answer one question each day for a month.

11. What’s the most important decision you need to make this year?
12. What area of your life most needs simplifying, and what’s one way you could simplify in that area?
13. What’s the most important need you feel burdened to meet this year?
14. What habit would you most like to establish this year?
15. Who do you most want to encourage this year?
16. What is your most important financial goal this year, and what is the most important step you can take toward achieving it?

17. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your work life this year?
18. What’s one new way you could be a blessing to your pastor (or to another who ministers to you) this year?
19. What’s one thing you could do this year to enrich the spiritual legacy you will leave to your children and grandchildren?
20. What book, in addition to the Bible, do you most want to read this year?
21. What one thing do you most regret about last year, and what will you do about it this year?
22. What single blessing from God do you want to seek most earnestly this year?
23. In what area of your life do you most need growth, and what will you do about it this year?
24. What’s the most important trip you want to take this year?
25. What skill do you most want to learn or improve this year?
26. To what need or ministry will you try to give an unprecedented amount this year?
27. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your commute this year?
28. What one biblical doctrine do you most want to understand better this year, and what will you do about it?
29. If those who know you best gave you one piece of advice, what would they say? Would they be right? What will you do about it?
30. What’s the most important new item you want to buy this year?
31. In what area of your life do you most need change, and what will you do about it this year?

The value of many of these questions is not in their profundity, but in the simple fact that they bring an issue or commitment into focus. For example, just by articulating which person you most want to encourage this year is more likely to help you remember to encourage that person than if you hadn’t considered the question.

If you’ve found these questions helpful, you might want to put them someplace—in a day planner, PDA, calendar, bulletin board, etc.—where you can review them more frequently than once a year.

So let’s evaluate our lives, make plans and goals, and live this new year with biblical diligence, remembering that, "The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage" (Proverbs 21:5).

But in all things let’s also remember our dependence on our King who said, "Apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

Copyright © 2003 Donald S. Whitney. All rights reserved.
For more short, reproducible pieces like this, see www.BiblicalSpirituality.org

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

101%

I got this from a mommy off of CMU today.

Thank you marmie for permission to repost! God Bless

From a strictly Mathematical Viewpoint:

What Equals 100%? What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been in situations where someone wants you to give over 100%. How about achieving 101%? What equals 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions:
If: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y ZIs represented as: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 1 9 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.

Then:
H-A-R-D-W-O-R- K
8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%

and K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E
11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%

But, A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E
1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

AND, look how far the love of God will take you
L- O- V- E-O-F-G-O-D
12+15+22+5+15+6+7+15+4 = 101%

Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that
While Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, it's the Love of God that will put you over the top!

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Riddle for You

What is Endlessly Tired and Tirelessly Unending?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Dash Between the Years


I found this poem, but have no reference as to who wrote it. But the message is a good one, especially as a new year approaches. This is the time of year where each of us should stop and take stock of the year just passed, to examine how we lived and loved. And it's a good time to pray and plan the coming year, always striving to move higher in God and closer to His heart. I do this every year, setting goals, and changing things about my life that need adjustments.

As Pastors, we recommend to our congregation that they do this every year as well. I know in our ladies prayer group, we switch goals with each other and pray for one another through the year concerning our goals, especially when we are struggling with one of them.

This poem is a good reminder of what really matters, and what will be remembered of us after we're gone. Sobering yes, but hopefully not morbid.

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone

From the beginning to the end

He noted that first came her date of birth
And spoke the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all

Was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not how much we own;
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we've never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life's actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

Friday, December 26, 2008

What God is Like-According to 5th Graders

A fifth grade teacher in a Christian school asked her class to look at TV commercials and see if they could use them in some way to communicate ideas about God.

Here are some of the results:
God is like.
BAYER ASPIRIN
He works miracles.

God is like.
a FORD
He's got a better idea.

God is like. COKE
He's the real thing.

God is like.
HALLMARK CARDS
He cares enough to send His very best.

God is like.
TIDE
He gets the stains out that others leave behind.

God is like.
GENERAL ELECTRIC
He brings good things to life.

God is like.
SEARS
He has everything.

God is like.
ALKA-SELTZER
Try Him, you'll like Him

God is like.
SCOTCH TAPE
You can't see Him, but you know He's there.

God is like.
DELTA
He's ready when you are.

God is like.
ALLSTATE
You're in good hands with Him.

God is like.
VO-5 Hair Spray
He holds through all kinds of weather.

God is like.
DIAL SOAP
Aren't you glad you have Him? Don't you wish everybody did?

God is like .
the U.S. POST OFFICE
Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet nor ice will keep Him from His appointed destination.

God is like.
Chevrolet. . . .
the heart beat of America

God is like
Maxwell house. . .
Good to the very last drop

God is like.
B o u n t y . . . .
He is the quicker picker upper. . can handle the tough jobs. . .and He won't fall apart on you

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ahhh....The Sounds of Christmas

"It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas, every where I go.."

Woman at WalMart: "alright then, I'll just pay up front!" She just couldn't understand why the men in automotive couldn't weigh her broccoli! HA! Get a life lady! You could have had to drive several different places to purchase clothes, food and get your car worked on! Sheeeeesh!

Man at Sams to the poor cashier that doesn't have a clue: How can you take my ID and scan it? That's invasion of privacy! There's personal information in that magnetic strip!!! You shouldn't be asking me for that!!!!!! How can you do that? You can't do that!!! Why did you do that????

Man at Michaels buying a hedgehog Christmas ornament carved from a log: (Yes, that should conjure up many pictures in your brain!) "I think I'll start a new tradition with this". (personally, I was dying to ask him what in the world it would be but refrained. At least he was making an effort!)
The Sounds of Christmas at my House:
"whisper, whisper, whisper, whisper"
"Stay out of my room!"
"Close the door!"
"Don't come in here!"
"You're working on getting coal for Christmas, aren't you?"
"I took "your" sons shopping today, and they made me so mad I just wanted to crack their heads together!"
"Move! I need to get those cookies out of the oven, NOW!"
"Don't spoil your dinner! Save some cookies for Christmas, please!"
"Who ate all the peanut brittle......AGAIN!"
"I like that you baked all those cookies Mom. That way we always have something to eat!"
"Boys, come put the lid on the cookie container the RIGHT way!"
"Were you born in a barn like Jesus? Shut the door!"
"Sorry, I'm all done shopping for you. Save it for your birthday wish list."
"Do I look like I'm made of money?"
"It's a good thing we don't believe in Santa because if we did, you two would get absolutely nothing for Christmas! But since Jesus came to give us a gift we didn't deserve, I guess you'll still find something under the tree this year!"
"Don't look at what the UPS driver brought! I'll get it!"
"You've got to be kidding me!" (said to the postmaster when she told me that it would cost me three times more than what I spent purchasing my sister's gift to mail it to her in Oregon! Next year she's getting a recipe in the mail instead of the finished product and no, it wasn't fruit cake!)
"I AM NOT shoveling snow on Christmas day! That is where I draw the line!"
"Did anyone water the tree?"
"WHO watered the tree? You got water all over the floor!"
"Don't run the train..........too fast! Oh no, get a fire extinguisher!"
"Mom, can I have a new Bible for Christmas? Mine is broke!"
"How come the neighbor sent us a card? They don't like us the rest of the year."






Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Recipe For Joy

A Recipe for Joy by Adrian Rogers

These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." John 15:11

Joy is the birthright of the child of God. Every child of God ought to have a conscious, conspicuous, continuous, and contagious joy. If you are not living a life of joy, you are living beneath your privileges as a Christian.

The Source of Joy
What is the source of your joy? John 15:11 says the joy that you are to have as a Christian is the joy of Jesus. He says "My joy." Jesus literally wants to take the joy that He has and place it in you. We think of Jesus as a Man of Sorrows, but there was a genuine joy in Jesus; and if you do not have that joy, you are not like Him. Jesus is the source of joy.

The Stability of Joy
Jesus not only wants you to find His joy; He wants you to keep it. This is not a joy that comes and goes. Philippians 4:4 says, "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice." First Thessalonians 5:16 is even more clear: "Rejoice evermore." It is important to note, however, that there is a difference between joy and smiling. Even when the tears are coursing down your cheeks, there can still be joy in your heart. If you get your joy from amusement; when you can no longer be amused, your joy is gone. But Jesus never changes. He is always there, and that is why your joy can remain:

Steadfast in Sorrow - Being a joyful Christian does not mean you will not have sorrow. In fact, John 16:20 states, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice ..." But you can have joy in spite of sorrow.

Triumphant in Tribulation - Not only are you going to have sorrow, you are going to have tribulation. In John 16:33 we read, "... In the world, ye shall have tribulation ..." But Paul sang praises to God at midnight in the Philippian jail. The same joy is available to you.

Abundant in Affliction - Afflictions may come and go, but Jesus is still there. Jesus knows your afflictions and offers joy in their midst. First Thessalonians 1:6 says, "And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost"

The Sufficiency of Joy
Not only is His joy here to stay, but the joy of the Lord is enough. Other things can give you joy in an area of your life; but unless you have joy in Jesus, your joy is not full. The fullness of joy is only in Christ. Psalm 16:11 says, "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."

The Secret of Joy
Even though this joy is available to us, not every Christian has joy. You can be a Christian and still be miserable. As a matter of fact, the most miserable man on Earth is not an unsaved man but is a saved man out of fellowship with God. David, after he had committed sin, prayed in Psalm 51:12a, "Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation." He hadn't lost his salvation, but he had lost the joy of it. We also read where Peter wept bitterly even though he was saved (Matthew 26:75).

Many Christians are joyless. They need to know the secret of joy found in John 15:5: "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing." There are three significant things about the life of a branch:
~A branch is absolutely dependent upon a vine.
~The vine sustains the branch and provides everything needed.
~The branch never has to worry about its provisions. The branch is not called on to do anything for God, just abide in the vine. What we do on our own has no eternal value. The branch surrenders to the vine in order to be useful. It is the vine that produces the grapes - the fruit of the Spirit - which includes joy. In order for there to be this dependence and restfulness, there must be total surrender.

Have you brought all of the issues of your life into one burning focus and said. "I have no greater ambition, desire, or responsibility than just to abide in the Lord Jesus Christ?" Dear friend, that is the recipe for joy in your life.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Showering With Neighbors as Ferrots Fly Overhead

No, I didn't eat pizza for dinner. No I'm not having weird dreams or visions! I'm still reeling from the crazy Scattegories game we played last night! It was one of my oldest daughter's birthday gifts, which was the reason for our gathering. She turned 23.
It's very hard for my husband and I to know where the time went.
It seems that it was only yesterday that she was a snugly little bundle. My husband would come in from the barn tearing off his coveralls as he came. As soon as he hit the door, his arms were out and he would say "give her to me, give her to me." Then they would go somewhere to snuggle, sometimes the rocking chair, sometimes the couch and sometimes under the multicolored Afghan that used to fascinate her so.
Even as I sit here typing, I hear the tick tock, tick tock of the clock on the wall above my computer. I put it there to be a constant reminder that I have much better things to do than play on the computer. And no matter what I do, there is nothing that can stop the tick tock of time, even though I would like to be able to make it stand still, especially in moments like last night as my heart took a snapshot of the whole family laying over laughing at my rather eccentric 12 year old who is definitely a "free" thinker! He was the author of the flying ferret's and yes, we did catch him and neighbor girl in the shower naked and scrubbing each other--when they were three!!

I've been thinking about time a lot lately. It means so much to us. But to God, it doesn't exist. I wonder if He is puzzled when we ask for more of it and then turn around and wonder how we will keep from getting bored when time is eternal.
I've also been thinking about and noticing what I do with my time. Am I using it wisely. Do I consume my time in a way that shows God that I am grateful for what He has given me? Is the way I'm using my time now going to affect the future tick tocks of life in a positive way? There's nothing I can do to retrieve time, but I can affect the time that is coming in the future. It's sobering, and sometimes just plain scary.
Time changes things. My daughter has gone from that cute little bundle to a lovely young lady. Instead of picking up after her, I wish she were here to pick up after. Instead of cooking for her, I now talk to her about cooking. Instead of taking time to play with her, I wish she would take more time to play with me.
I think there is just something special about the oldest child. She was my guinea pig, of sorts. I think we grew up together instead of me raising her. I still remember the excitement of all the "firsts" of her life--her first step, first word, first "owie", first friend, the first time she kissed my cheek, and the list goes on and on. She was my whole world.
No matter how much time passes though, it just seems that some things never change. One of those things is the fact that she is still "Daddy's girl".
(Don't freak over the light above my hubby's head! I can frame a photo a little better than that! We did that on purpose! We figured that if you can make millions by selling the Virgin Mary on toast, we could make a fortune when people realized that he is angelically perfect! Maybe Barack ought to re-consider the vice president nominee).
Where does all the time go? Into the record keeping books of God. He records every minute of every life. And some day, He will review them all with each of us. We may forget, but He does not. May we live each one as the gift and responsibility that it truly is! May each moment have Christ in the very center of it, no matter where it leads us or what it finds us doing. And may each moment find us loving--loving our children, loving our spouse, loving the household of God, loving what God has given us in His Son, loving the tasks-no matter how mundane--that He has given us to do because we know that each one is His very best for us.













Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's YOUR Turn to Write my Blog Today!

Because I'm my hubby's "helpmate", I subscribe to several on-line newsletters that would be of interest and a help to his ministry. He's neither has the time nor the computer savvy to do this himself, so I do it for him as he is interested in keeping up with cultural issues that affect those to whom he ministers to. Recently I found this article about "holiness", often a dirty word even in the evangelical circles, and thought it would be a good discussion generator.

So if you choose to read this article, please take a minute and share what holiness means to you. What do you do think holiness means positionally and practically? How has your view and practice of holiness changed as you have matured in Christ? Do you think holiness is more of inward or outward thing? What are some do's and don'ts that you have adopted as a result of holiness within, or do you feel that holiness has freed you from do's and don'ts?

Enjoy!


Living a Holy Life
by John Chasteen

Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord."--Hebrews 12:14, NLT
What comes to mind when you hear the word "holiness"? For most of us, it conjures up all kinds of negative associations related to legalistic rules and behavior.
In this day of public scandal, many are asking important questions such as, "What is biblical holiness?" "Is it important anymore?" In light of these and other pressing concerns it might do us good to revisit the concept.

Let's start by saying that God has called every believer to holiness (see 1 Thess. 4:7). The commonly used Greek word for holiness is hagios, and it literally means "to be set apart or separated unto God." Similarly, the Hebrew word for holiness is kodesh, and it carries the idea of setting something apart as different or uncommon, not for everyday use.
The word "holy" or one of its derivatives is used more than 425 times in the Old Testament and at least 165 times in the New Testament. It seems God is trying to make a point!
A lifestyle of holiness is a life that is lived as separated unto God, one that is not common or like everyone else's. It is one that's different from the lives of worldly people.
It is important to remember that though the word "holiness" is defined as being uncommon and set apart from the world, it does not have the connotation of being weird or irrelevant. Being holy simply means that one does not march to the same beat the world does.
Holiness always begins on the inside of the believer. It is not merely a list of dos and don'ts that Christians must comply with; rather, it is a byproduct of our relationship with Christ and stems from our position in Him (see Col. 1:22).
Provisional holiness-what Jesus won for us on the cross-is a wonderful reality, but it must be accompanied by a life of practical holiness lived by the power of the Holy Spirit. Practical holiness means we regularly crucify the flesh, deny ourselves and understand the meaning of sacrifice. This makes us different and in the biblical sense, holy.
Our text says we should work at living a holy life, that we should pursue it. A lifestyle of holiness can elude us if we are not careful. So work hard in your pursuit of it-great dividends await you.

Monday, December 8, 2008

"The Consistent Christian" Part 4

DIRECTIONS to those who wish to do more than others:

1. Would they do more than others? Then they must deny themselves more than others.
2. Would they deny themselves more than others? Then they should pray more than others.
3. Would they pray more than others? Then they should resolve more than others.
4. Would they resolve more than others? Then they should love more than others.
6. Would they love more than others? Then they should believe more than others.
6. Would they believe more than others? Then they should know more than others.
7. Would they know more than others? Then God must reveal himself more to them than he does to others.

If you have enjoyed these, you may read more! Each of the last few days points are expounded on by the author in the book, "The Consistent Christian" which can be found at http://www.gracegems.org/29/secker.htm. Enjoy, grow, and may God make us all CONSISTENT in every way as we walk this gospel road!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

"The Consistent Christian" Part 3

PRINCIPLES which a believer should walk by:

1. That whatever is transacted by men on earth—is eyed by the Lord in heaven.
2. That after all his present receivings—he will be brought to his future reckonings.
3. That God bears a greater respect to his heart—than to his works.
4. That there is more final bitterness in reflecting on sin—than there can be present sweetness in the commission of sin.
5. That there is the greatest vanity—in all created excellency.
6. That duties can never have too much attention paid to them—nor too little confidence placed in them.
7. That those precious promises, which are given to insure his happiness—do not supersede those directions which are laid down for him to seek after happiness.
8. That it is dangerous to dress himself for another world—at the looking-glass of this world.
9. That where sin proves hateful—it shall not prove hurtful.
10. That inward purity is the ready road—to outward plenty.
11. That all the time which God allows him—is but enough for the work which he allots him.
12. That there can never he too great an estrangement from defilement.
13. That whatever is temporarily enjoyed—should he spiritually improved.
14. That he should speak well of God—whatever trials he receives from God.
15. That the longer God forbears with the unrelenting sinner in life—the sorer he strikes him in the judgment-day.
16. That there is no judging of the inward conditions of men—by the outward dispensations of God.
17. That it is safest to cleave to that good which is the choicest.
18. That no present worldly business—should interrupt his pursuit of future blessedness.
19. That gospel integrity towards God—is the best security against wicked men.
20. That the richness of the crown which shall be received—shall more than compensate for the bitterness of the cross which may here be endured.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

"The Consistent Christian" Part 2

WHAT the Christian does more than others—

1. He does much good—and makes but little noise. (Ah, sweet humility)
2. He brings up the bottom of his life—to the top of his light.
3. He prefers the duty he owes to God—to the danger he fears from man.
4. He seeks the public good of others—above the private good of himself.
5. He has the most beautiful conversation—among the vilest people.
6. He chooses the worst of sorrows—rather than commit the least sin.
7. He becomes a father to all in charity—and a servant to all in humility.
8. He mourns most before God—for those lusts which appear least before men.
9. He keeps his heart lowest—when God raises his estate highest.
10. He seeks to be better inwardly in his substance—than outwardly in appearance.
11. He is grieved more at the distresses of the church—than affected at his own happiness.
12. He renders the greatest good—for the greatest evil.
13. He takes those reproofs best—-which he needs most.
14. He takes up duty in point of performance—and lays it down in point of dependence.
15. He takes up his contentment—in God's appointment.
16. He is more in love with the employment of holiness—than with the enjoyment of happiness.
17. He is more employed in searching his own heart—than in censuring other men's states.
18. He sets out for God at his beginning—and holds out with him to the end.
19. He takes all the shame of his sins to himself—and gives all the glory of his services to Christ.
20. He values he values his heavenly inheritance—above all earthly possessions.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Black Friday was truly BLACK!!!

For years I have decried the practice of the early morning sales hysteria on the day typically called Black Friday. Although black Friday has been called such for as long as I can remember, there was a day when black Friday was more like rosey Friday. As a child, I remember when black Friday was a wonderful day. People were happy, cheerful, and polite as they shopped. They weren't in a hurry. They stopped and enjoyed every decoration in every window. They chatted gleefully as they walked down the sidewalk(this was before there were malls) and gladly held the door so that others could enter before them.


Our family tradition was that we would all sleep over at Grandma's house on Thanksgiving night and rise early in the morning for a big breakfast. Then we would walk in the chilly morning air to the square of the small village where she lived and catch the bus to the nearest town. I remember how exciting it was to sit sideways on the bus and to chat with the people who obviously did not find riding public transportation as exciting as we did. For us, it surely beat being strapped into the back of a station wagon, parking 6 blocks away, and having to walk to the main street in the freezing cold. The bus dropped us right in the heart of the shopping district and we barely noticed the cold because there was so much else to observe.


The first highlight of the day was pulling into the public square of the town where we would be shopping. It was always heavily decorated with lights, greens, shimmering snowflakes, and giant Christmas balls that swayed in the wind. As we walked the streets along the lines of department stores, each window was decorated with elaborate decorations that beckoned you with waving hands, animated animals, blinking lights and the promise of a closer look if you would just come inside.


At lunchtime, we would all climb up to the counter of McCrory's Department Store and have soup, sandwiches, and soda pop. After lunch, we would shop for Grandmas' Christmas dress, the dress she would wear to the Christmas Eve service at the church we attended and the dress that was almost always a victim of the candlelight service. No, we never managed to set Grandma on fire, but we always trashed her dress with candle wax.


Of course, Grandma always bought each of us a special "something" that we would pick out along the course of our travels. By 3:00, we were completely worn out, so we would sit at the corner drug store and sip milkshakes as we waited on the bus that would carry us home again.


These memories are a far cry from camping out in parking lots in the freezing cold to buy the biggest and best gift, from stampeding into stores like a herd of crazed cattle, sending 8 month pregnant women to the hospital, from trampling children in an effort to buy the latest doll, and from callously trampling employees of the store to death, which was one person's poor misfortune this year.


Even if black Friday brought the retailers out of the red and into the black, this day will forever be stained with the blood of this man's life and the numerous bloody noses, bruises, harsh words, and unChristlike actions. What a travesty that the first day of the celebration of the King of Peace's coming is so filled with greed, lust, hate, violence and yes, even murder. How saddened His heart must be to watch as the incarnation is lost in a sea of carnal commercialism.

How far from the simple, holy manger we have come.
How far from the simplistic worship of the greatest gift ever given we have wandered, even to the point that we now try to remove His very name from the celebration and deny that He has anything to do what we are celebrating.

I'm not against a good deal or even an extravogant gift. I love giving gifts and would do much more than I currently do if I had the means. But if the gift cannot be given with a clear conscience, what good is it? If the gift cannot be bought with the greatest gift ever given in mind, to me, it violates the whole reason for the season.

A man was trapped under a glass door that was pushed off it's hinges by a mad crowd. And while he lay under the weight of the door and people rushing to buy the latest piece of technology, he was crushed and suffocated to death. Then, when the store announced that it would be closing because a man had died from the stampede of mindless, heartless people, they were mad that they had to leave the store without what they had just killed to obtain. Maybe I'm not so crazy for avoiding it afterall.

Where were the thoughts of the man's family who now have to deal with his death and funeral at Christmas time? Where was the concern that children were just left fatherless because of their greed? Where was the pity and remorse for the widow now left to make a living and raise her children alone because they wanted the newest piece of technology? What a waste!

Sadly, that technology will be obsolete before it is even opened on Christmas day.

Yes, Black Friday was truly BLACK indeed! May God forgive us and wake us up before it's too late.





Monday, December 1, 2008

"The Consistent Christian" Part 1

For the next couple of days I will be sharing some things written by William Secker, a writer from the 1600's, on practical Christianity. One of my greatest pet peeves is what I call "plastic Christians". They look real good on the outside, but on the inside they are hollow and empty. They posses the name "Christian", but they are but a poor replica, without life, a statue of what they profess, cold, unmoving, and hard. Like plastic army men, they stand as if in the army of God, but in actuality, are nothing more than a decoy, a luring into certain death. These writings are based on the basic belief that "a singular Christian will perform singular actions".

WHY a Christian should do more than others—
1. Because more is done FOR him than for others.
2. Because he is more nearly RELATED to God than others.
3. Because he PROFESSES more than others.
4. Because he is inwardly CONFORMED to the Redeemer more than others.
5. Because he is WATCHED more than others.
6. Because if he DOES no more than others--it will appear that he IS no more than others.
7. Because he is appointed to be a JUDGE of others.
8. Because he EXPECTS more than others.